Like so many things in life, trusts can get a bad name. Are they a concept which can be difficult to understand? Sure. Do they take thought and planning? Sure. Are people confused about how to properly use a trust? Sure. People tend to only see the negative side when it comes to trusts. Trusts can be complicated and tricky but they are so much more than that too.
Talking about a trust is like talking about a car. There lots of different types of trusts so saying you have a trust is like saying you have a car. It really doesn’t tell you much.
Even if you don't know much about cars, you understand that every car has key features. Some features are standard, but other features are options that require an additional purchase, and serve each driver's different needs and desires. There are luxury models, utitiatrian vehicles, sporty cars, and even vintage keepsake collectible cars. When it comes to cars, what you need and what you think you need may not be the same.For example, a sun roof can be really cool to order in a new car. On the other hand, the addition of a sun roof adds alot of money to the base price, but doesnt really improve the cars performance. Then there is the option of buying a car with 4-wheel drive. While that is alot more expensive, it may make a safer, more user friendly car, especially on snow covered roads. What about a stereo system? Probably not as necessary as power locks that lock when the car is started. A custom color is a great upgrade, but maybe the money might better be spent on a car that is a bit bigger, and offers more protection on the highway next to the big tractor trailers. Then there is the heated seats or cozy cloth discussion...
Like buying a car, establishing a trust is specific to a person’s goals. Once you decide what you want to accomplish with a trust the process becomes much easier. Some common goals that clients mention include:
(1) providing for an individual with special needs, (2) wealth protection planning, (3) asset preservation and creditor protection, (4) creating a lasting legacy, or (5) federal tax planning. Some individuals may want to accomplish several of these goals. Sometimes multiple trusts are used to achieve all the client’s goals or one trust is used to achieve the goals.
A properly drafted trust should achieve your goals and offer you the most flexibility possible. Despite what people think, trusts offer flexibility, predictability, and can be very simple.
Like buying a car, there are lots of choices, lots of real or percieved needs. Until you research models and assess your must have options, until you research the pros and cons, you won't know how the car will take shape to meet your driving needs. And you will read countless reviews, talk to dealers, go to some car shows and sales lots, and maybe even ask your mechanics opinion.
If you don’t know much about something, then find someone who is comfortable with that something and ask their advice. If you want to provide for an individual with special needs, achieve wealth protection planning, have your assets protected from creditors, create a lasting legacy, or minimize taxes a trust may be your best option so find an attorney that is comfortable with trusts. You will probably end up more satisfied and less confused.
Call Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak at 1(800)351-8334 for a FREE consultation to discuss your trust planning.